This is Part II of my morning meanders taken June 5th, National Trails Day. You can read Part I here if you missed it.
The power of suggestion … it’s real!
Because I am always obsessed about the weather for my walking agenda, (and in general), I follow several meteorologists and weather sites online, plus listen faithfully to an all-news radio station. In the 6:00 a.m. newscast on June 5th, it was suggested to “go take a hike today for National Trails Day” – then, while scrolling through my Twitter feed, I saw this Tweet by the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge:
So, off I went, notwithstanding the already-stifling temps, in order to garner steps, collect blog fodder and hopefully not melt in the process.
I arrived at the Trenton Gateway portion of the Refuge mid-morning, on the heels of my four-mile meander at the marshes of Lake Erie Metropark. Whew – just as the weather folks predicted, it was “air you could wear” and soon tiny beads of sweat were forming on my brow, as it was a bit of a hike from the parking lot to the start of the trail in the hot sun with no shade. This visit I skipped a stop at the Korneffel Fishing Pier; instead I aimed to concentrate on the Monguagon Delta, perhaps for another up-close glimpse of a heron, then hike through the Old Growth Forest where a deer or an owl would help fulfill my “Critter Photo Bucket List” and also make my day.
It was my first time back to this venue in 2021. I was eager to see how “green” it looked since my previous visits were when the leaf colors were on the wane and the last time was after a dusting of snow. I had high hopes of seeing a colorful array of wildflowers in the wetland areas, especially the prolific blooming Wild Hibiscus or Swamp Rose, which flowers and their abudance had been teased on the venue’s website.
Well this happy wanderer saw NO colorful wildflowers, just a skittish Killdeer walking about, an anxious turtle sunning itself and a Egret enjoying a fish breakfast. Unbelievably, there was no human interaction as I was the only one on the trails and the walkway in the Delta.
Enroute to the Old Growth Forest, I stopped to see the progress of the Visitor Center which was still closed due to COVID at that time, but has since opened. I paused to take some photos of the beach glass that has been embedded at the Center. The mosaic is designed to capture the sun’s rays onto the glass, creating a wavy, ripple effect to resemble the waters of the Detroit River. It’s one of the highlights of the Center and my photos really don’t do it justice.
This turtle blissfully sunned itself on a rock, aah, finally a critter posing for me. I grabbed the camera and got one shot before it heard the shutter click, freaked out and plopped into the water. Guess I do better interacting with squirrels who are eager to provide a pose in exchange for some peanuts.
On the trail at the 300-year old Old Growth Forest.
The long-awaited opening of the Trenton Gateway of the Refuge was in October 2020. With all the years of preparation to ready this newest wildlife venue, I was surprised to see recent photos on their Facebook site of how a torrential rainstorm had wreaked havoc in the wooded area; it was advised to stay away or hike carefully. Large portions of the walkways in the Forest were submerged and the Vernal pools looked like small lakes.
I saw no evidence of water damage and there were NO critters in the woodsy area, unless you want to count these on this cute sign.
There are Eastern Fox Snakes at the Refuge’s Forest area, so most of the time, I avert my eyes to the ground and tread carefully – just sayin’.
I retraced my steps and headed straight for the Monguagon Boardwalk in the Delta by the same name.
Do I dare cross the length of the Monguagon Boardwalk this time?
It was a little windy which gave some cause to pause as the Monguagon Boardwalk across the Delta stretched before me.
As you can see, there is no railing and that makes me a little nervous. Just as I was wavering, in the distance a Great Egret plunged into the Delta and began walking around on its stilt-like legs in search of breakfast. Well, Mr. Egret’s appearance solidified my decision to traipse across, albeit carefully, grab a few shots, then scurry back to land.
I saw some pond lilies as I tread along the walkway and thought it was a tad early for them, but maybe I was confusing them with the exquisite Water Lotuses at Lake Erie Metropark which peak late Summer.
I crept closer to the Egret, as it scanned the water scoping out fish and it was so engrossed in its fishing expedition, it didn’t see me right away. Then Mr. Egret saw me, freaked out and flew away.
It landed on the other side of the Delta … so much for that.
I turned around to begin my perilous journey back (for me anyway), but soon stopped short because the lure of a tasty fish breakfast was just too great to pass up and the Egret returned, plunged into the water and the quest for fish began anew. It was successful as you can see below.
It was all good, me taking pictures, him/her munching on small fish, then I saw something splashing around in the water … “not this again I thought” as it had been just an hour or so before when I wasted my time at the marshy area at Lake Erie Metropark, waiting patiently for a brown something to emerge from the murky waters, after a series of ripples and splashes caught my attention.
Same as before, something loomed large and the water was clear enough that I could see it crisscrossing the Delta. Occasionally it splish-splashed in that split second when it came up for air. I got a little nervous, not only for the camera getting wet from a big splash, but yikes, ever the worrier, I imagined it jumping out of the water, onto the walkway and me recoiling in horror and falling into the Delta.
Just then, whatever sea creature was beneath the walkway had obviously tickled the tootsies of the Egret, who dropped its fish and took off, taking to the skies and getting the heck out of Dodge.
The “sea creature” next leaped out of the water, likely startled by the quick exit of the Egret. I could see it was a huge Carp and, as it swam near the walkway, I got this photo of it, then just like Mr. Great Egret, I got the heck out of Dodge!
As I walked to the car, a Killdeer crossed my path, obviously in a hurry to get somewhere. I wonder who got more steps on this National Trails Day, the Killdeer with its long legs and swift strides … or me, with equally long legs and swift strides? Have you ever seen a Killdeer walking? They sure are on the move!!
I walked six miles altogether after a short hop to Council Point Park to tender peanuts to my furry and feathered friends, I wearily put the car in the garage, glad to be home.